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September 4, 2013

Szechuan Stir-Fry with Fiery Peanut Sauce

Nut Butter Universe by Robin Robertson

  • The spiciness of this classic tofu and veggie stir-fry can be adjusted to suit your tastes. Lori Maffei

Serves 6

1/2 (115ml) cup water
1/4 cup (60g) peanut butter
1/4 cup (60ml) tamari (soy sauce)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons natural sugar
1 teaspoon ketchup
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon neutral oil (e.g., vegetable oil)
2 cups (450g) broccoli florets, blanched
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
2 cups (450g) thinly sliced napa cabbage
1 cup (225g) thinly sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
8 ounces (225g) extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into 1/2-inch strips
1 large yellow onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
4 cups (900g) cooked brown rice
1/4 cup (60g) chopped roasted peanuts (optional)

Szechuan sauce

In a bowl (or food processor or blender) combine the water, peanut butter, tamari, vinegar, sugar, ketchup, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes, and blend well.

Pour the mixture into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside.

Tofu and veggies

Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and stir-fry until golden brown (about 3 minutes). Remove the tofu strips from the oil with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the onion, broccoli, and bell pepper to the wok and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add the cabbage and mushrooms and stir-fry 3 minutes more, or until the vegetables soften, adding a little water if the vegetables start to stick.

Return the tofu to the skillet. Add the sauce and stir-fry to coat the vegetables. Serve the tofu-vegetable mixture over rice and top with the chopped peanuts, if using.


  • Vary the vegetables according to your personal taste and their availability.
  • The amount of heat in this dish can be controlled by the amount of red pepper flakes added.
  • Strips of extra-firm tofu are a pleasant foil for the spicy sauce.

Recipe from "Nut Butter Universe" by Robin Robertson. ©2013 Robin Robertson. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press.


All figures are per serving (assumes 6 servings).

Calories: 353
Fat: 11 g 
Carbs: 49 g
Fiber: 7 g
Protein: 13 g
Sodium: 917 mg*

*If sodium is a concern for you, use low-sodium tamari or decrease the amount.